TULSA, Okla. (May 17, 2017) – Thanks to the support of the Tulsa community from Improve Our Tulsa and generous donors, the newest and largest region of the Tulsa Zoo — the Lost Kingdom exhibit complex — is scheduled to open June 5, 2017.
Tulsa Zoo members are invited to enjoy a special evening on Wednesday, June 7 from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. with activities and keeper chats in the new exhibit.
Lost Kingdom is the highly anticipated, $21 million exhibit complex that will provide an updated, naturalistic home to several species, and allow the zoo to introduce new species.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum is scheduled to speak at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, along with Tulsa Zoo President and CEO Terrie Correll, Tulsa Zoo board chair John Dale, and others.
The second project of the 20-year master plan to rebuild the zoo will provide larger habitats for each of the animals, as well as outdoor and indoor spaces for guests to view the animals year-round, regardless of weather.
Lost Kingdom is the new home for ambassadors of some of Asia’s rarest and most elusive species, including Malayan tigers, snow leopards, Chinese alligators, siamangs, binturongs and Komodo dragons.
The large, interactive spaces of the Helmerich Tiger exhibit, the Hardesty Snow Leopard Habitat, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Siamang Habitat, and the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Komodo Dragon exhibit will showcase the animals in naturalistic habitats.
The new Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation seasonal exhibit for binturongs and red panda will showcase these two new-to-the-zoo species year-round; binturong in spring and summer, red panda in fall and winter.
“This is the type of visionary exhibit that visibly reaffirms our commitment to the animals entrusted to our care,” Correll says. “It will offer our guests year-round improved educational and viewing opportunities of several species that highlight important conservation issues.”
The remarkable new exhibit will offer unique viewing opportunities.
The Hille Foundation Tiger Bridge will allow the Malayan tigers to walk above zoo visitors to travel between outdoor spaces.
Training areas are an integral part of the exhibit. Both the Suzanne and Jim Kneale Family Foundation Tiger Demonstration Area and the Barbara and Lynn Owens Snow Leopard Demonstration area will give guests an opportunity to watch zookeepers work with the animals, demonstrating the positive reinforcement training necessary for the best in animal care.
“We designed the Lost Kingdom complex to provide immersive, year-round viewing opportunities where zoo guests can feel like they have walked into a forgotten land,” says TZMI Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Engagement Lindsay Hutchison. “Exploring among the ruins teeming with wildlife, zoo visitors will feel a mixture of curiosity and engagement; curiosity about the animals they are viewing, and a desire to engage in conservation.”
The complex will feature two dining options – an upscale pizza restaurant at George Kaiser Family Foundation Rajan’s, allowing guests to dine up close with the tigers, and an outdoor snack shop, which replaces the former Trunk Stop CafÃ©. The Ann and Jack Graves Komodo Canteen will offer two shaded seating areas where guests can relax with a sweet or salty treat, and enjoy fantastic views of the wildlife around them.
“Tulsa can be proud of the zoo for maintaining a commitment to high standards of animal care, for increasing our contribution to global wildlife conservation, for supporting the local economy, and for serving as an educational resource in the community,” says Correll. “Lost Kingdom will continue to help us live our mission of inspiring passion for wildlife in every guest, every day.”
“The completion of Lost Kingdom will allow us to continue work on our master plan, focusing on the African section of the zoo next,” says Hutchison. “We hope everyone is as excited as we are as we re-build the Tulsa Zoo into the zoo this community deserves.”